Read about our previous days here:
Today we woke up in Hatch, Utah. We were about 30 minutes from our first stop today, Bryce Canyon. The Bryce Zion Inn did not serve breakfast, so we went to the Galaxy Diner right across the street. This 50’s dinner themed restaurant was very cute, and felt a little out of place for the town we were staying at.
Ramon and I had eggs and bacon while the kids had Corn Pops that cost $4.00. It was a bit pricey at $38 dollars for all four of us, but in a town with only 5 restaurants our options were limited.
We started our drive to Bryce Canyon and were impressed by the beauty of it all.
After 30 minutes, we arrived at Bryce Canyon.
This was a beautiful place, and our most kid friendly stop yet. There were many trails, but the main trail around the rim of Bryce Canyon was mostly paved and level or at slight incline, which was a contrast from yesterday. The exception was at Sunset Point, where there was a short, fairly steep incline. The views were absolutely worth it. You could go down into the canyon, and the trail did look potentially manageable with a stroller. However, it was a very steep trail dropping 320 ft. very quickly, and we did not feel confident we could control the stroller in that situation. We felt confident Lucy could hike down into the canyon, but the idea of dragging a 30 pound weight back up the same trail was not so appealing.
Zack and Lucy loved Bryce Canyon almost as much as we did. They enjoyed seeing the hoodoos, the rock columns formed through erosion. It of course would not be a nation park trip without the kids playing in the rocks and sand.
Who needs gorgeous vistas and rock formations, when you have sand! Zack also felt the need to keep us (and several other people around us) entertained as always. He created a musical instrument out of an empty water bottle and rocks and started his own band. This was quite possibly the highlight of his vacation thus far. He had a blast and would not put it down… ever.
We were about 1/2 way around the trail when we head thunder and saw lightning. Yep! Second day in a row of rain. In the desert. Thankfully, we made it around the trail without getting too wet.
The Bryce Canyon Visitor Center was our next stop, which happened to be pretty busy from everyone sheltering there due to the rain. The kiddos wanted to get their national passport stamped first! For those of you that don’t have one, the National Park System sells a passport for $9.95 that you can stamp at every national park, monument, historic site, etc. and it’s a fun thing to do every time you go to a national park. You can buy one here, or at any national park. This was definitely a highlight for them, and Lucy even made me stamp her hand.
There was an exhibit to learn about prairie dogs and some of the the wildlife that lives in the Canyon. As part of our homeschooling, we try to have Zack learn at least 3 things about each place we go to. Try is the key word here.
Don’t be fooled! Lucy spent a great most of time playing telephone with the headset at the listening station.
We then made the 2 hour drive from Bryce Canyon to Zion Canyon. The final 20 minutes of the drive after we entered into Zion National Park was absolutely STUNNING! I cannot tell you the scale or beauty of this place. Pictures cannot do it justice, and there is no photo could share that would describe it.
We checked into our hotel, and after a quick ice cream stop, we boarded a tram to take a tour of the canyon. We were given wireless headsets so we could hear our tour guide explain the history and landmarks of Zion Canyon.
There were suppose to be two stops along our tour, but a shuttle bus broke down where we were suppose to make our second stop. We did get to stop along the Virgin River to a formation called “ The Altar and the Pulpit”. During this stop, Zack and Lucy did what they do best … play in sand!
They also decided to be superheroes. I have absolutely no idea why, but the other passengers got laugh out of it.
It of course started to rain… again! This bummed Ramon out, as he couldn’t get the pics he wanted. He still got some decent pics though, but he attributes that to the fact Zion is just that gorgeous, even in the rain.
We loved this tour, and would highly recommend doing it to get a overview of the canyon. It was quick, laid back, and a nice overview. It was well worth the $35 it cost.
After our tram tour, we checked into our room. Our accomodations definitely took a step up from the spartan motel we were in yesterday. We got a small cabin at Zion Lodge, which is the only hotel on Zion National Park property.
We really lucked out in getting this place as it is usually sold out a year in advance. There are no private vehicles allowed in Zion Canyon from May to October. Staying here allowed us to drive our car into the canyon and forgo the shuttle line at the visitor center to get into the park. The visitor center parking lot fills up very quickly, and you also typically have to take a shuttle from your hotel in town to the visitor center. Being able to skip not one, but TWO shuttle lines makes staying in the perk well worth it. The shuttle lines are about an hour to an hour and a half wait, and that does do not sound like fun with small children. The cost was the same if not cheaper to stay in the park, so it is a real no brainer if you can get a reservation.
The cabin was very nice, and had a rustic, but upscale feel. It surprisingly had a quartz countertop in the vanity area.
My favorite part of the room was that there was a separate vanity and bathroom area. It was finally dinnertime, and there is only one option after 6:30PM, The Red Rock Grill. If you want to eat here you have to make a reservation and the earliest reservation we could get was at 8:15.
The restaurant was very nice and felt like something you would see at Disney in terms of theming. While it was themed as well as Disney would do it, it definitely is not the most kid friendly. They served all four of us water in glass water glasses. There is a straw shortage in Zion and no straws are currently available. This did not make matters and better and Lucy spilled her water twice!
They had a wide variety of choices on the menu, and brought bread out right away. We had been seated and waiting for our food for about 45 minutes when our server comes to our table and tells us that the kitchen is very backed up, and that it might be a little while before our food arrives. He invited us to visit the salad and soup bar free of charge, which we happily did. Zack apparently absolutely LOVES the ham cubes from the salad bar. He had two full bowls, and Ramon, being a meatatarian (one who does not eat veggies), used the ham cubes to make a sandwich using the cubes and the rolls.
After we all eat off of the salad and soup bar, our server said it would still be about another 20 min before our food is ready. It was about 9:20PM at his point, we honestly are not hungry enough to eat our full meals, so we offered to pay for the salad bar and call that dinner. They were very kind and gave us the salad bar for free and encouraged us to eat as much as we liked.
We then headed back to the cabin, showered, and called it a night. Ramon was really hoping to get some beautiful Milky Way Galaxy photos tonight, as there is no light pollution in Zion, but sadly, the skies were overcast, so he was a little bummed.
Tomorrow we explore Zion Canyon, and then we head back to Las Vegas!
Check out what we did the next day here.